As Ed Reed prepares to take his place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, teammates, friends and coaches from his Ravens, college and high school years reflect on the legacy of the legendary Ravens safety with their favorite memories and never-before-heard stories. 

Curtis Johnson 
Written for PressBox

Curtis Johnson was the wide receivers coach at the University of Miami from 1996-2005 and Ed Reed’s lead recruiter. Johnson is New Orleans native.

I knew him as a kid when I would come back to town and his uncle Otis would tell me he’s going to play for you, he’s a good player. I just remember seeing him around the neighborhood when he was 8, 9, 10 years old and seeing him grow up, being a good athlete, watching him on tape eventually playing in high school everywhere, all positions. That was the finest thing about him. Watching him in my front yard, because at my dad’s he would be playing basketball, I knew there was something special about him. He was really something special in high school. 

When recruiting back then, you’re never really sure. Chuck Pagano was our DBs coach; John Pagano, his brother, was working at the Saints. So we flew in, me and Chuck, and we’re going to Destrehan to see Ed Reed. We pick John up in the offseason and went down to see Ed Reed. Chuck wanted me to offer him a track scholarship. John watched him on film and John said, “I don’t know if he can play for you guys, but he can play for the Saints right now.” John was the reason we took him at Miami. But seriously, this guy could play everywhere. He was well known [around the New Orleans area]. He was a very, very good player.

To read more memories of No. 20, visit

Photo Credit: Courtesy of University of Miami Athletics

Issue 255: June/July 2019


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